5 centre-backs not called 'Harry Maguire' who Manchester United could sign instead

Samuel Umtiti

United would have to make Leicester's rock the most expensive stopper of all time this summer – but they needn't have their trousers pulled down so

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Centre-back has been an increasingly problematic position at Manchester United in recent years, and the Red Devils shipped 54 goals in the Premier League last season – more than Crystal Palace, Leicester, Wolves, Everton and Newcastle.

The speculation around Harry Maguire has intrigued United fans for the best part of two years, and now the Leicester City centre-back has told the Foxes that he wants to leave them this summer. His club have made it clear that it will take upwards of £80 million to get him, which would eclipse the £75m fee Liverpool paid for Virgil van Djik in January 2018.

But there are other talents across Europe who could fill that gap at the back – and likely cost less too...

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Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)

The Belgian has been linked with a move away from north London for the past two seasons, and Tottenham may finally have to part ways with one of their star players if they receive a £25 million offer – a release clause which is only valid up until July 26.

Roma are said to be in pole position for the 30-year-old, but why not United? It felt like a no-brainer at that price months ago, even with his age in mind. Alderweireld's consistency and big-game experience would have made him a shrewd investment for a team lacking quality at the back.

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Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona)

The 25-year-old France international and 2018 World Cup winner still has time to improve his fortunes at Barcelona, but reports suggest he could be available for £55 million this summer as the Blaugrana look to help fund a raid on PSG for Neymar. In today’s market, that seems like a fair deal for a player with obvious promise. 

Umtiti is a left-sided centre-back and adept at playing the ball out from the back - a key attribute for a team that will hope to dominate games much more next season.

Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

Koulibaly has been a key player for Senegal in their fantastic run to the Africa Cup of Nations final, and his performances for Napoli since signing for the Partenopei in 2014 have put the towering centre-back in world football's top bracket of stars.

The 28-year-old is allegedly already on Manchester United’s shortlist, but Napoli's own high price tag – £100m at the last claim – may mean he is no cut-price alternative. But is it a better buy?

Alessio Romagnoli (Milan)

The 24-year-old is known for being extremely confident in possession and was made captain of the Rossoneri following Leonardo Bonucci's departure to Juventus. Romagnoli certainly fits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youthful transfer strategy, and his leadership qualities could mean he'd be the right fit at Old Trafford. 

The Italian signed a four-year contract extension with his club last season, which runs until 2022. A substantial fee would be required to tempt him - Milan sporting director Paolo Maldini sees him as a crucial part of his club's plans – but these are the aisles United are shopping in. 

Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

The 20-year-old French starlet has been on elite radars for some time, and gained plenty of admirers who feel his technical ability and tackling is well suited to the Premier League. A product of Valenciennes' youth setup, Upamecano has yet to feature for France's senior side but has been capped by their under-21s 13 times. Given his performances in the Bundesliga, it's a matter of if rather than when for his senior prospects. 

Upamecano's release clause currently stands at £89m, although stories abound that Milan want him in exchange for Hakan Calhanoglu (er, good luck with that). Either way, United will be kicking themselves that the centre-back could have been their player for just £2 million back in 2015. 

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